Tennessee Wildlife Resources Agency officials kicked off Monday’s commission workshop with details on a plan to keep small mouth bass biting on Norris Lake.
The agency was not asking commissioners to take action on the proposed changes slated to take effect March 1, 2010, but in the spirit of good communication the presentation was meant to keep the group in the loop.
Bobby Wilson, TWRA assistant chief of fisheries, said in order to increase the population and quality of small mouth bass inhabiting Norris Lake waters an 18- inch size limit was placed on catches of the species in 2001.
Although the restrictions have been successful in increasing the size of small mouths in the lake, Wilson said it is time to move on to the next phase of the quality improvement project.
According to Wilson, the Norris Lake Fisheries Advisory Committee will be presenting a plan to the TWRA Commission with stepped up restrictions modeled after those enacted on Dale Hollow Lake.
“People across the country and around the world know Dale Hollow Lake for its small mouth fishing,” Wilson said pointing out that the lake holds the world record for the number one and two small mouth catches.
To increase and preserve the small mouth bass stock at Dale Hollow Lake a 16 inch to 21 inch slot limit was placed on catches. With the limit fishermen are allowed to keep one fish under 17 inches and one over 21.
While many citizens and tournament organizers were opposed to the slot limit at its inception, Wilson said the lake’s fishing community has grown to appreciate its positive results.
The proposed slot limit for Norris Lake is 17 inches to 22 inches.
Wilson conceded that like at Dale Hollow there would likely be opposition in the area as well, but speculated most fishermen will appreciate the effort.
“The tournament organizers are the ones who will be opposed, but this makes up a very small percentage or fishers,” Wilson explained.
According to Wilson, the proposed restriction will not only increase the quality of small mouth bass on Norris Lake, but will also increase revenue brought in by the tourism industry.
“This will benefit local fishermen and increase tourism dollars,” Wilson concluded.
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